Tamworth Bands History : 1967
In 1967, out there in the big wide world, The Beatles released Sergeant Pepper and met the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Bangor and on 27th August hippies gathered at the 'Festival of the Flower Children', at Woburn Abbey. Back in Tamworth...
|January - March||April - June|
|Pop Music Revival?||Manfred Mann Scandal!|
|July - September||October - December|
|D.I.S.C.O.||Pop Dances Fail|
Pop Music Flops Locally
Beat bands were still popular locally although the regular big-band nights at the Assems were now a distant memory. With a hint of desperation in an article in the Tamworth Herald of 06/01/67, titled: "Revival of 'Pop-Scene' at Wilnecote?" we read that "Wilnecote Sports and Social Club are hoping to bring about something of a revival in the local "pop" scene by running regular monthly pop dances for the younger generation." A couple of weeks later under the headline: "Pop" Music Dancing at Assembly Rooms - we read that a Birmingham nightclub director and dance promoter had booked the Assembly Rooms to bring dancing to "pop-music" back to Tamworth.
But...the act booked for the first night was The Roscoe Brown Combo and we read later how the event was a 'flop' and only 150 attended the dance although several young people had to be turned away at the door because they were "dirtily dressed." Mr Donald C. Davies the promoter explained "We are not suggesting young people should come to dances in formal dress - jeans are quite acceptable - but those we turned away were unclean. They seemed to be interested only in the late bar."
The number of name acts appearing in the town was severely limited with the Assembly Rooms a non-starter as a venue. The Foseco Sports and Social Club was rapidly becoming 'the' venue for nationally known artistes. The 'N-Betweens (later to become Slade) played there on 31st March, they'd also played Coleshill and Maxtoke Ex-Servicemens Club in January. In April 1967, scandal struck the Assembly Rooms, in the Herald of Friday 28th April, Manfred Mann were advertised as playing at the Assems that night. However, a week later, under the headline: "Police Called to Assembly Rooms as 250 Teenagers Demonstrate" we read how police were called to Tamworth's Corporation owned Assembly Rooms early on Saturday (29th April) as 250 angry teenagers demonstrated against the non-appearance at a dance of the Manfred Mann Group. This didn't do the reputation of the Assems any good at all.
The Moody Blues plus The Uglys played Sutton Coldfield RFC on 10th June '67. Al Stewart appeared at the Back Door Folk Club, Atherstone on 27th August and Jimmy Cliff and the Shakedown Sound performed at the final night of the Crows Nest Discotheque at the Jolly Sailor Pub in the town. Later in the year Jeff Beck performed at the Assembly Rooms as did "The Fantastic" Wynder K. Frogg.
As for local bands to be seen performing in 1967, The Wanderers who had now been together some six years, were reported in the Tamworth Herald as changing their image from the Mother-and-Father-appealing rhythm music to the teenage soul sound. Tamworth College of FE held a Beat Competition as part of their Rag Week. Winners of the competition were soul and blues outfit, The Pinch. The band were featured in a profile in the Tamworth Herald of 24th March 1967. It wasn't mentioned however that two of the musicians: Dave Mason, vocals and lead guitar and Robert Broadhurst, bass guitar were formerly members of Johnny Silver and the Cossacks and The Spirits. They were joined on drums by John Hinch from Lichfield who was later to be a part of Bakerloo Line with Dave (Clem) Clempson of The Vipers, Harwell Reaction and later Humble Pie.
Other local bands gigging regularly were The Teen Beats and The Conventions, variously advertised as The Conventions, Conventions and Convention. Also, Harwell Reaction - this was the new name of tha band formely known as The Vipers. Similarly, the Tamworth Herald seemed to have a problem with their name, initially calling them Halam Reaction, then The Harwell Reactions and finally, getting it right Harwell Reaction.
The Four XXXXs had been 'the' band of '66 and continued to gig through the first half of 1967. However, their last recorded gig was on 15th June 1967 at Kettlebrook Working Men's Club. On 6th October '67 an advert appeared in the Herald for The Power and the Glory – formerly The Four XXXXs. The band played a further four gigs that year, nothing like the number they had played as The Four XXXXs, a similar fate which seemed to befall The Vipers now Harwell Reaction and The Wanderers after changing their style from the familiar "Mother-and-Father-appealing rhythm music".
As mentioned, the local beat and pop music scene was reportedly dying a slow death in Tamworth and once familiar bands were gradually losing their popularity. But...there was one thing that was becoming more and more popular in the town...the Discotheque. 1967 was really 'the' year when the disco finally arrived in Tamworth. Read the full history of DJs and Discotheques in Tamworth between 1964 and 1967...
In a full-page feature in the Tamworth Herald of 27th January 1967, reporter John Bennett found out: "Why Some Young People Think Tamworth Is Dead". The first line of the article read "18 year-old Alan put his crash helmet on the cafe counter and straightened his leather jacket. Then he stirred another cup of coffee and said: "Entertainment for young people in Tamworth is lousy." it's an interesting read and proof that 'things never change'. Read the full article here...
In 1966 we read about a new Folk Club opening in Tamworth, this had failed apparently because it "had placed too much emphasis on traditional music". A new Folk Club opened on 31st May '67 at the Prince of Wales public house in Tamworth's Lower Gungate and presented "a variety of folk music with an even balance of modern and traditional numbers". The Ian Campbell Group played there in September but to cater for increased numbers, the club reopened at the Jolly Sailor public house.
Throughout the earlier years of the 1960s a regular annual event was the Carnival Queen Selection Dance. This would be held at the Assembly Rooms over four weeks with a semi-final and final with celebrity judges and top-name bands playing at all concerts. Denny Laine and the Diplomats, Gerry Levene and the Avengers had played and Jimmy Tarbuck, Des O’Connor and Jack Douglas had been judges. However, in 1967 in a report in the Tamworth Herald of 30th June we read: "Shocking Attendance at Carnival Dance" where only 50 people turned up. Prior to the dance the Mayor and Mayoress Dr and Mrs P.A.V. Barford together with Carnival Queen Mrs Wendy Arnold held a civic reception for invited guests. The 'ballroom dance' later was open to the general public.
This apathy with regard to local concerts that had continued throughout the year appeared at the end of the year, on 22nd November 1967, under the headline "Two Attempts at Assembly Rooms and "Pop" Dances Fail". Attempts by two entertainment firms to make a success of "pop" dances for young people at Tamworth's Assembly Rooms have failed. Manbourne promotions, of Birmingham, held its third successive weekly dance at the Rooms last Friday night. Only 50 people arrived and Mr Keith Bourne, 27 year-old co-director of the firm said: "This will definitely be our last dance here". "At the first of the dances, 160 paid for admission, Mr Bourne said. At the second, the attendance dropped to 75."
Interesting that the popularity of the discotheque was rising throughout the year but that of the 'live' band was declining. It appears that the Assembly Rooms brought a very poor reputation with it from the days of Vince Baker, with violence and high prices and in addition the local council were very keen to return to 'traditional' dances.
I wonder what 1968 will hold for the local music scene.